The Internet is a great resource for statistics. There are more than 150 references to “love” included in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. In his writings, Saint Francis de Sales encourages us to think of Christ and be conscious of the love with which our Lord suffered so much in this world. We were the object of this love.
“By means of these sufferings, He obtained from God the Father good resolutions and decisions for our hearts. By the same means he also obtained that we need to observe, nurture, strengthen and carry out these resolutions. My Savior, you died to win for me the grace to make my deliberate decisions. Remember, Philothea (means Lover of God), the heart of our Lord saw your heart, and loved you surely from the tree of the cross. By this love He obtained for you all the good things that you will ever have, including your resolutions. Yes, Philothea, we can say with Jeremiah: “Lord before I existed you beheld me and called me by name.” (cf. 1:5)
This is indeed so; His divine goodness has prepared in His love and mercy all the means, general and particular for our salvation, and consequently, our resolutions. Yes, without doubt. A woman with child prepares the cradle, the linen and swaddling clothes, and even arranges a nurse for the child whom she hopes to bring forth, though it is not yet in the world. So, our Lord, His goodness, as it were pregnant with you, wishing to bring forth to salvation, and make you His child, prepared upon the tree of the cross everything you would need. He got ready your spiritual cradle, linen, and swaddling clothes, your nurse and everything suitable for your happiness. These are all the means, all the attractions, and all the graces by which He guides you and wants to lead you to perfection.
My God, how deeply this truth should be fixed in our memory. Is it possible that I have been loved, and loved so tenderly, by my Savior? That He thought of me personally in all these little events by which He has drawn me to himself? How much then should we love, cherish and make good use of all this for our benefit! This is extremely kind: this loving heart of my God thought of Philothea, loved her and obtained for her a thousand means of salvation. This He did as though there was no other soul in the world He could think of. The sun shines on one part of the earth, shining on it no less than if it shone nowhere else, and if it shone upon it alone. In the same way our Lord thought of and cared for all His loving children in such a way that He thought of each one of us as though He had not thought of all the rest. He loved me, says St. Paul, and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20); as if He said: for myself alone, as though He had done nothing for the others. Imprint this in your spirit, Philothea, to cherish and nourish with care, your firm resolution so precious to the heart of the Savior.”
Saint Francis de Sales in Introduction to the Devout Life
In his Introduction to the Devout Life, Saint Francis tells us that God loves us in such a way that, “He thought of each one of us as though He had not thought of all the rest.” Saint Paul says, “He loved ME, and gave himself for ME.” I’ve discovered that I can best think about Jesus and His love for me by searching the Scriptures for evidence of His love. Try this:
- Conduct a Google search with the words, “Bible verses about God’s love.” You’ll find both Old and New Testament references about how God loves us and how I should show my love for God.
- Enter your Scripture findings in a journal under the headings: Evidence of God’s love for me and How I show my love for God. Make at least one entry in your journal each day for the next 30 days.
- Take a few moments each day to review and meditate on your previous journal entries.
- Pray and ask God to help you understand the greatness of His love for you.
- As you continue to add Scripture verses to your journal, review all your entries at least once a week, preferably on Sunday.
- Turn to your journal entries whenever you need to boost your understanding of God’s love for you.
Blessings and peace to you as we journey together in Encountering Christ in Word, Liturgy, Charity, and Community. A Saint Monica Sojourner